When you start a lean training program in your company in the Philippines what is the change that want to see happen first? Or let me ask a more specific question: What is the change you want to see happen in the first few days after your employees have been initially exposed to lean training? As a lean consultant in the Philippines, when I ask this question in my lean management seminars and lean leadership workshops the have I facilitated, the responses I have received have been interesting and varied.

  • An executive who wants to see his managers become more accountable and proactive.
  • A manager who wants to see her supervisors become more creative and innovative.
  • A supervisor who wants to see his team leaders become more disciplined and organize

Can you spot the one thing they have in common? All of their answers are focused on other people making a change as a result of the lean training. It is rare for me to find someone who will actually raise their hand and say that it is their own behavior that they want to change the most as a result of the lean training.

Is this a bad thing? Yes and no. The ability to see opportunities for other people to improve is a great and much-needed skill. However, if you only do this and cannot see the opportunities to improve yourself, then your ability to influence others will slowly disappear.

The first place we must apply lean training is on ourselves. This is not just in the Philippines but also in every country and every industry in the world that has implemented Lean. Personal lean is the foundation of all successful lean transformation programs. So how your executives, managers, and supervisors apply lean to themselves will be the foundation of making lean training program successful for the rest of your organization in the Philippines.

“Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.” — Albert Schweitzer

The most powerful leadership tool we have is our own personal example. Thus, to become a greater influence on others and to help people change, executives, managers, and supervisors must first improve how we implement lean in their own professional and personal lives. This is where your lean training program in the Philippines should start!

“You must be the change that you wish to see in the world.” — Mahatma Gandhi